Richards: RFU must bring in Cham­pi­onship age cap

The Rugby Paper - - News - ■ By NEALE HAR­VEY

Richards, who is mov­ing on at the end of the sea­son as part of a re­struc­ture at Scot­tish, in­sists ex­pe­ri­enced for­ward packs have be­come too dominant in a league that he be­lieves needs ref­er­ee­ing dif­fer­ently to en­cour­age bet­ter at­tack­ing skills.

Ex-Eng­land scrum-half Richards claims ap­ply­ing up­per age lim­its would ben­e­fit Eng­land in the longer-term, telling The

Rugby Pa­per: “It’s up to the RFU where the Cham­pi­onship goes but it has to have LON­DON SCOT­TISH head coach Peter Richards reck­ons the Cham­pi­onship is fail­ing English player de­vel­op­ment and says squad age lim­its are the an­swer. more of a breed­ing ground for young English play­ers.

“Pri­mar­ily, it needs to be ref­er­eed slightly dif­fer­ently be­cause at the mo­ment we’ve got a sit­u­a­tion where the dominant packs pre­vail ev­ery week and that’s stunt­ing the de­vel­op­ment of free-flow­ing rugby. I’d also look at the over­all age of squads.

“I’d like to see an age cap put on the league so that you can only have three or four play­ers in your squad over the age of 25 and the rest is about de­vel­op­ing young play­ers – there’s no ben­e­fit in 35year-old props cru­ci­fy­ing young­sters ev­ery week.

“That way you’d get more par­ity at set-piece time, which would al­low teams to be more in­ven­tive and ex­pan­sive in their at­tack­ing game.

“That would in turn fil­ter up­wards as play­ers progress to the Premier­ship and, even­tu­ally, the Eng­land team.”

Richards added: “Age lim­its might not suit teams like Lon­don Ir­ish or Bris­tol at the top, who would ar­gue they need Premier­ship-ready teams, but the Cham­pi­onship should not be dic­tated to by one team that has vastly dif­fer­ent re­sources at its dis­posal.

“How can teams com­pete with sides like Bris­tol, who could come down with peo­ple like Steven Lu­atua get­ting paid £650,000? He’ll be on more than some squads in this league so that’s a mas­sive mis­match that some­body should be look­ing at.

“If you want the league and its play­ers to grow, you’ve got to change the ground rules be­cause by hav­ing such a mis­match in salaries, which isn’t the case in the Premier­ship, the Cham­pi­onship is any­thing but the level play­ing field it needs to be.

“Whether pro­mo­tion and rel­e­ga­tion needs to be looked at is for oth­ers to de­cide, but an age limit would ben­e­fit ev­ery­one be­cause the league should be a de­vel­op­ment tool, rather than a grave­yard for older play­ers just look­ing to sur­vive.”

Richards in­sists ref­er­ee­ing stan­dards also need at­ten­tion, with more done by the RFU fi­nan­cially to en­cour­age se­nior play­ers to take up the whis­tle.

He said: “Of­fi­ci­at­ing needs dra­matic im­prove­ment and there must be more en­cour­age­ment for play­ers to come across. We’ve seen Karl Dick­son, Richard Haughton and Hamish Smales show in­ter­est but more in­vest­ment is needed.

“In or­der to per­suade a guy to give up his play­ing ca­reer at 31 or 32, the RFU has to of­fer a cred­i­ble wage. We op­er­ate mil­lion pound busi­nesses in the Cham­pi­onship now and the guys in the mid­dle need to be far more highly qual­i­fied.”

Doubt­ful: Peter Richards be­lieves de­vel­op­ment is fail­ing

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.